It’s that time of year again when Clark Kent’s special one-off LeBron make-up hits the ‘net and people go apeshit wishing they could lace up the same sneakers as #6. Kent has the task of designing a special colorway for Bron Bron and his crew once a year, and this time around he decided to do a denim colorway that’s officially called the “James Dean.” Besides LeBron and his entourage, only a select few have been luckily to get their hands on a pair that we think may be in the running for the best LeBron 8 yet.
The other yearly occurrence is Clark’s infamous “112” design on a LeBron—a color scheme that incorporates neon, elephant print, nubuck and reflective materials all on one never-going-to-retail sneaker. We got with the man of many talents (DJ, producer, sneaker designer, manager) to discuss this year’s special make-ups and what LeBron thought of his gifted sneakers...
Complex: How was the response to these 112s compared to last year's?
DJ Clark Kent: I think the response has been a little crazier than last time because there were some pairs available and people were selling pairs a lot early this year. When the 7s came out no one had pairs early on. With these they had them early. Compared to the 7, people seem to like the 8 better. The hype from the South Beach is there, and there really hasn’t been a pair since the South Beach that was super, super dope. When the 7s came out there were a lot of dope pairs, this year, when this popped up it was like “‘Oh ok!”
Complex: What's the story behind the "112" colorway?
DJ Clark Kent: 112 is the name of the colorway, it also represents Brooklyn. The first time I ever got to do a shoe at Nike, I had it in my mind for years. The “112” name of the pack symbolizes the scheme of the silver reflective material, black nubuck, elephant print, and neon yellow all on one shoe. 112 sneakers always have the same colorway on it. The only thing that might change is the color of the elephant print.
Complex: Talk about the Denim LeBron 8s…
DJ Clark Kent: Those aren’t called the “Denims” they’re actually called the “James Deans.” In all of his movies, James Dean used to wear black with blue jeans. So they’re made to be cool like James Dean. Dean used to wear a black leather jacket with denim jeans.
Complex: What was LeBron’s reaction to them?
DJ Clark Kent: When LeBron got the sneakers, he loved them. They were just for him and his crew. He said they were dope, he said he loved them and that they were crazy. Rich Paul who runs LeBron’s marketing company said they were dope too. He said “Bron loves these brah.” The denim was for their crew to rock in the fall.
Complex: Do you ever wish the 112s could be released?
DJ Clark Kent: I always wish the 112 models can be released. I don’t make the decisions — I get to do some of cool things with Nike, but I can’t tell them what can or can’t be released. I’m just glad I get to do things with the brand.
Complex: How many pairs would you want to release if they ever did come out?
DJ Clark Kent: Maybe 1,000 pairs. It’d be a quickstrike. You have to understand the hype or people clamoring to get them, that doesn’t mean that everyone wants them, it just means the sneaker community may want them. I don’t know if everyone wants them, who knows. The reason I would say 1,000, is because of the time of year. It’s the end of the season, and they’re preparing to go into the next shoe, the LeBron 9.
Complex: Do you think selling under 1,000 pairs of sneakers is easy?
DJ Clark Kent: It’s very easy to do. If you create a sneaker and it gets posted on all the websites and blogs, sites that the sneaker-loving community pay attention to, it’s easy.
DJ Clark Kent: If you have a problem selling 500 pairs of sneakers, your sneaker really isn’t hot. If you show a shoe on a website for one day before it comes out, and then all the websites post it… Say you show it on Nice Kicks, every other site is going to rip it. And you’re only putting out 500 pairs. If you don’t sell them all, it’s not that hot.
You can sell 500 pairs shoes of a wack shoe if the press is right. Back in the days we didn’t have websites, you had to go to the store to see what’s out. You had to go into the store and get excited to see what’s out, now the stuff’s online and people are camping out. Back in the day were the good ol’ days.
Complex: When we discuss our top ten sneakers of 2011, do you think the 112 LeBron 8 should be on it?
DJ Clark Kent: I don’t know if they’ll make it, because these weren’t released. If it was released it’d probably be in the top 5. Maybe? I wouldn’t know. You have to understand, I can’t tell you what people are going to like. That’s why I’m cool with people who feel or don’t feel the shoe. I didn’t make them to be released, I made them for friends and family. If people can look at them and say it’s one of the best shoes of the year, that’s cool. If not, that’s cool too.